7 Steps for Quick and Easy Menu Planning

open pad of paper with pen

Menu planning can help you eat healthy and save time and money, especially when life gets busy.  Here are some tips to get you started:

 1. Post an ongoing grocery list where it’s easy to see

  • Let everyone know to add food items you are running low on to the list.
  • List foods under headings (vegetables, fruits, dairy, meats, etc.) to make shopping easier.

2. Ask for ideas and share the work

  • Ask your family for lunch or dinner ideas.
  • Give everyone a job – planning, shopping, cooking and clean-up too.

3. List your favourite seasonal meal ideas

  • Use the list as an idea starter.
  • Write down the shopping list for each recipe.
  • Try something new. Visit Foodland Ontario for seasonal recipe ideas.

4. Find out what’s on hand and what’s on special

  • Check the fridge, cupboard and freezer before shopping.
  • Note what needs to be used up soon so it does not go to waste.
  • Check the grocery store flyers before you go and plan around items that are on special.

5. Start planning! List three meals and one or two snacks daily

  • Keep meals simple during the busy work week.
  • Post menu plans in a visible spot.
  • Store menus you and your family enjoyed in a binder or on your computer to use again.

6. Eat healthy!

  • Plan meals and snacks prepared with little or no added fat, sugar or salt. Limit processed or prepared foods like deli meats, frozen entrées or store-bought fried foods.
  • Serve at least one serving of fruits and/or vegetables  with each meal.

7. Save time

  • Use leftovers for lunches or as part of another meal.
  • If you own these, use time-saving appliances: slow cooker, rice cooker, toaster oven. 
  • Cook and freeze meals in advance to use on busy days.

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